Marseille Boat Show at La Ciotat 4-12 Mar 06

4-12 March 2006 sees the 4th Annual Marseille Boat Show at the port of La Ciotat (13 Bouches-du-Rhone, Provence) 20km east of Marseille. The coast east of Marseille is very dramatic with high calanques (the highest cliffs in Europe!) offering some great views of the coastliine and the city of Marseille, Going west towards the port of Cassis you follow the “Route des Cretes” the “road of the crests” which is dramatic with spectacular views – just make sure the driver keeps his/her eyes on the road.
La Coitat has another claim to fame, which is that it was the setting for the first motion picture by the Lumiere Brothers in 1895 ” A Train arriving at the station of La Ciotat” – doesn’t sound exactly gripping does it? The station is still there, albeit not looking quite so charming as it probably did in 1895.

It is easy to get confused about the local wine “Cassis”, named after the nearby port. This is not cassis in the way of blackcurrant or “Creme de Cassis” which tends to come from Burgundy – Cassis wines are mainly white with characteristic floral aromas, made from Clairette, Marsanne, Ugni Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Boutboulenc – ideal with the local fish.

To the east you’ll find Bandol, which is home to some big meaty reds made predominantly from the tannic Mourvedre grape. They used to be pretty impenetrable heavyweights, and whilst still definitely in the “big wine” category, the modern style is more balanced with more evident fruit. We can recommend the Bandol wines from BUNAN (Moulin des Costes) at Cadiere d’Azur (83 Var, Provence) – and besides its worth the journey up the dirt track to the winery, from where the views are stunning – try the former dentist at Yapp Brothers for stocks.

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